Still Got It: A V6-Swapped MR2 Too Special To Relinquish

Still Got It: A V6-Swapped MR2 Too Special To Relinquish

The Toyota MR2, one of Japan’s most prolific mid-engine sport compacts, has left a mark on enthusiasts since its debut in 1984. The moniker "MR2" stands for "Midship Runabout 2-seater," perhaps the industry’s coolest name, highlighting its unique mid-engine layout. Initially introduced as a lightweight and affordable sports car, the MR2 gained popularity among enthusiasts for its agile handling and engaging driving experience, and became renowned as a wild little car with just enough balance thanks to its design and weight distribution. Knowing all of that, take everything you just learned about the MR2’s perfect balance with modest horsepower and throw it out the window. We’re making big power here.


The MR2 you see before you is the brainchild of Danny Gawrych, its owner, and the masterminds at Falcon Creations AutoLab. Gawrych is the perfect example of an enthusiast who was captivated by the MR2 in its early years, and has since been unable to shake his love affair with the pint-sized Toyota platform, even as his taste in cars has refined over the years. The Fistral Blue paint on the MR2 wasn’t chosen at random - it intentionally matches his personal McLaren.

Having gained quite the appetite for speed and power with his supercar, the MR2 build was to ditch its OEM-specified modesty and go full-throttle, balls-to-the-wall insane. With plenty of MR2 experience under their belt, Falcon Creations AutoLab was the perfect place to send it. Upon arrival, the team immediately got started on some of the chassis and exterior upgrades that would go on to complement the impending performance upgrades. We’ll get to that in a minute.


First up, the custom metal widebody that truly sets the car apart was fabricated in-house. Much more than your average pulled and rolled fenders, or radiused fender arches, this widebody from Falcon Creations AutoLab follows the OEM lines while adding considerable width to the MR2, complete with open air flow channels behind the rear wheels and a modified rear bumper to meet it. The front bumper was completely recreated from a new mold, fitted with a custom front lip which resembles the iconic front lip which GReddy used to make, but with added length to bring the front bumper lower to the ground, sitting level with the rest of the widebody aero.

In addition to style points, the widebody accommodates the custom Modern Concept wheels, which are 8.5-inches wide up front, and a staggering 12.5-inches wide in the rear. Among the first modifications from Falcon Creations was the Airtekk Stage 2 air suspension system, allowing the Modern Concept wheels to meet the widebody when the car is aired out. Finally, the chassis was fitted with a Wilwood big brake kit, with calipers powder coated in the same orange as the valve covers and roll cage. We’re already getting some serious Gulf livery vibes here.


With the exterior more or less wrapped up, and an engine build in the works, the Falcon Creations AutoLab team turned their attention to the interior with the help of DVP Design’s upholstery skills. A step inside this Toyota reveals that every single panel of the interior is suede, with custom octagon-stitching on the seats. White stitching decorates the interior and complements the suede surfaces, including the dashboard which now surrounds a LINK ECU digital display in place of the OEM cluster.
We mentioned an engine build previously, and we had alluded to big power aspirations earlier - that’s where Falcon Creations was allowed to go nuts. The original inline-4 was out of here, and replaced with a Toyota 2GR-FE 3.5L V6 from a Toyota Highlander. A decent engine in its own right, the 2GR-FE is an underrated candidate for this job - especially when you consider the magnitude of work that would go into it. Full forged internals, V&M Racing port and polished heads, and a fuel system upgrade are among the star supporting roles in making big power from this V6.

The valvetrain features some custom wizardry, having been specifically designed for this build with a five-angle valve job. Big lumpy cams give the 2GR an idle that is out of this world, and sounds more like a V8 than some actual V8s, and a custom turbo kit provides some badass boost noises and ample jam. Some of the coolest engineering in the mid-engine bay comes in the form of the custom intake manifold with an internal water-to-air intercooler built in, and a Mishimoto ice box for those days at the track when the boosted V6 is bound to run hot.


This truly one-of-a-kind MR2 puts down over 800 horsepower to the wheels currently, and we’re told it’s capable of more on the current engine build. Even without the insane power, the highly customized MR2 build sitting next to a color-matched McLaren in Gawrych’s garage is a testament to the lifelong hold some of these cars can have on us. Even as a matured car enthusiast with a taste for supercars, he had to have his modified Japanese sport compact to go with it.

We were fortunate enough to get a tour through this build at SEMA 2023 with the legends from Falcon Creations AutoLab before it got sent off to its rightful owner.
You can check that out here!

Photography by Nicolas Russo (@nmr_media)
Full photo gallery at the end of the spec list.


Owner: Danny Gawrych
Builder: Falcon Creations AutoLab
Location: Tampa, FL
Engine: Toyota 2GR-FE 3.5L V6
Horsepower: 850 (est.)
Torque: 650 (est.)

Builder's IG: @falcon_creationsautolab

Forged piston and rods
Balanced crank assembly
V&M Racing port and polished heads
Custom oversized valves
Stage 3 cams
1300CC injectors
Radium fuel rails
Custom turbo kit
Intake manifold w/ water-to-air intercooler inside
Mishimoto ice box
Link ECU Extreme

FC AutoLab custom exhaust

E153 Transmission
HD Axles

Modern Concept Wheels - 18x8.5 +12 (f), 18x13 +0 ®
Falken tires - 315/30/18
Wilwood big brake kit

AirTekk Air Ride Stage 2 air suspension system

FC AutoLab custom metal widebody kit
McLaren Fistral Blue paint

DVP Design alcantara interior reupholstery w/ octagon-stitching
Link ECU digital display



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